Tourist Attractions of Goa


Panaji (Panjim)

Panaji is the capital of Goa. Literally, the word Panaji means 'the land that does not flood'. The main attraction in Panaji is the carnival held here every Sabada Gordo (Fat Saturday). The carnival is basically all about forgetting one's worries and having a fun time. There's a lot of singing and dancing, as well as a procession of heavily decorated floats


Church of the Lady of Immaculate Conception

The main place of worship in town, this church holds Mass every morning in three different languages - English, Konkani and Portuguese.


Chapel of St Sebastian

Built in the 1880s, the Church of St Sebastian is known for its crucifix of Christ, which shows Christ with his eyes open.


The Secretariat

This was the summer palace of the Muslim ruler of Goa, Adil Shah. It is also the oldest building in this part of Goa. The Portuguese rebuilt it in 1615 and used it as the residence of the Viceroy.


Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Located near Panaji, on the western tip of the island of Chorao along Mandovi River, this sanctuary is spread over 2 sq km. Local and migratory birds can be seen here in abundance.


Old Goa (Velha Goa)

Old Goa, the second capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty, could rival Lisbon with its magnificance in olden days. At that time, it was a fortress surrounded by a moat and had temples, mosques and a large palace for Adil Shah. Wracked by epidemics of cholera and malaria and the Inquisition, Old Goa has deteriorated from a vibrant city to a dying one with a handful of architectural relics.


 Basilica of Bom Jesus

This contains the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier who was given the task of spreading Christianity by the Portuguese in the east in 1541. The remains of the body are housed in a silver casket, which at one time was covered with jewels. On the walls surrounding the casket are murals depicting the saint's journey. There is an art gallery next to the Basilica.


 Convent & Church of St Francis of Assisi

Contains gilded and carved woodwork and murals depicting scenes from the saint's life along with a floor partly made of carved gravestones. The original building was built in 1517, and the new structure dates back to 1661. A convent behind this church is now an archaeological museum.


 Se Cathedral

The largest church in Goa, its construction started in 1562 during the reign of King Dom Sebastiao (1557-1558). The style of the building is Portuguese-Gothic with a Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior. The tower houses the 'Golden Bell', the resonant rings of which can be heard thrice daily


 Church of St Cajetan

Built in 1655, this church has been modelled on St Peter's Church in Rome. It was built by Italian friars of the order of Theatine, sent by Pope Urban III to preach Christianity in the Kingdom of Golconda.



Just 13 km north of Panjim is the small town of Mapusa (pronounced Mapsa). It is a collection of modern buildings and has little to offer other than its marketplace, where one find strings of spicy Goan sausages (chorizo), toddy (fermented palm sap), spices and exotic fruits.


 Beaches Fort Aguada & Candolim

The beaches of North Goa extend from Fort Aguada in an uninterrupted 30 km stretch right upto the border with Maharashtra. Fort Aguada was built in 1612 on the mouth of the Mandovi River to protect the shores from the Maratha and Dutch raiders. One can find many natural springs at the fort.



This place is a 45-minute bus ride from Panaji and was once famous for its hippies and cheap accommodation. The road between the town and the beach is lined with stalls selling Kashmiri handicrafts, Tibetan textiles and jewellery.



Anjuna is famous for its Wednesday flea market. The coconut palm-strewn beach is quite clean, making it one of the few good beaches in Goa.


 Chapora & Vagator

Coconut groves cover most of this rocky hill that holds the ruins of a Portuguese fort. The other major landmark is the estuary of the Chapora River. The Big Vagator Beach is also here. The Orzan Vagator Beach further down south is somewhat isolated from the area. There are lots of secluded beaches, sandy coves and rocky cliffs to explore and enjoy.



Located 32 km from Mapusa, the village of Arambol is a tranquil and friendly place with just a few hundred locals, mostly fishing folk. Only the very basic amenities are available here but the two beaches here offer a quiet and calm atmosphere very different from most other Goan beaches. 


Bondala Wildlife Sanctuary

This small wildlife sanctuary, located 50 km south-east of Panaji in the foothills of the Western Ghats, is a good place to escape to from the beaches of coastal Goa. A botanical garden, a fenced Deer Park and a zoo are things one can check out here.


 Terekhol Fort

An interesting small fort on the banks of the river Terekhol built by the Portuguese. It has now been converted into a heritage hotel. The Querim beach is close to the fort.


Vasco Da Gama

Vasco, as it is called, is 29 km by road from Panjim and just 3 km from the airport at Dabolim. It is one of the key shipping ports in the west coast, with container vessels and iron ore barges in traffic.



Bogmalo is a small fishing village, 8 km southwest of Vasco Da Gama, with a small sandy beach that is relatively clean and comparatively uninhabited. The waters here are safe for swimming. This is one of the places in India where one can do a PADI-approved Open Water Diving Course. Other water sport facilities are also available at the beach.



Margao (also called Madgaon) is the capital of Salcete province and is the main town in South Goa. It is 30 km from Vasco and one of the few places where one can see the remains of Portuguese rule. The Church of the Holy Spirit, built in 1675 by the Portuguese, next to Largo de Igreja Square, is a fine example of Baroque architecture. Monte Hill offers a good view of the area. The De Silva House and the De Joao Figueiredo House are other interesting places to visit in Margoa.


Colva & Benaulim

The Beach Bonanza is held here on successive Sundays with live music, dancing and entertainment. Colva Beach is one of the more popular beaches in south Goa. Benaulim derives its name from the Sanskrit word 'Banali' - 'the place where the arrow landed'. Legend has it that Goa was created when Parasuram, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, fired an arrow into the sea and ordered the sea to recede from where the arrow landed. Benaulim is 2 km south of Colva and 10 km west of Margoa. The beach here is tranquil and the sea is safe for swimming.


Varka & Cavelossim

Varka is 5 km south of Benaulim and Cavelossim is a further 7 km. The beach resorts here are a little upmarket and secluded. Further south of Colva (35 km) is an old fort at Cabo De Rama. It is believed that Lord Rama and his wife Sita had spent some time here during their exile, hence the name.



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